Thursday, 4 March 2010

‘Twas a great weekend for sport!

The Highlanders won on the Highveld, showing true grit in the process. I got to see Sir Bob Charles play golf, proving once again what a national sporting treasure he is by shooting 69, substantially less than his age. Best of all, the Blacks Caps provided one of the best sporting spectacles of the past decade with their last-gasp, hold-your-breath heroics in Sunday’s Twenty20 clash with the Aussies.

This weekend the Highlanders will have their work cut out at sea level in Cape Town against the Stormers but must take heart from the fact they’ve played well enough in all three games, albeit it’s not reflected on the points table. And what about this Michael Hobbs kid? We all thought it’d be Robbie Robinson electrifying the Highlanders!

The Black Caps, too, will take confidence into their second ODI against the Aussies at Eden Park. After the miserable entree dished up by way of the ‘Bangers and Mash’ boys from the sub-continent, it’s great now to be finally feasting on the main course of kangaroo.

For me though, the sporting highlight this weekend will be the 50th anniversary Golden Shears at Masterton, culminating in the Open final tomorrow night.

Since its inception in 1961 many great champions have graced the shearing board including the legendary Brian “Snow” Quinn (six titles), Colin King and Roger Cox (three apiece), Bing McDonald, Norm Blackwell and more recently Johnny Kirkpatrick and Paul Avery (all of whom have won twice).

Southlander Edsel Forde won the Open in 1989 and in more recent times his younger brother Darin and fellow Southlanders Joe Clarke, Alton Devery and Nathan Stratford have tread the board as finalists.

However, one man stands a long blow ahead of the field. Superlatives cannot do justice to David Fagan’s incomparable record. He has won 16 of the 49 Open titles up for grabs and if he gets his much-sought 17th tomorrow night he will have won more than one-third of the titles on offer since 1961 (coincidentally the year he was born). Surely that’s a record unprecedented in sport!

Kirkpatrick starts a clear favourite. Avery will be there or thereabouts. Look out also for Dion King, Dean Ball, Digger Balme, the young gun Cam Ferguson and Stratford’s in with a shout.
Only one result, though, will lift the roof off the Memorial Hall in Masterton. And you can’t beat, or bet against, a fairytale Fagan finish.


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